Windows Vista: Problems and Advice for Microsoft

I’ve been sitting on this post idea for a while, since about the beginning of last month, if not a few days before that. In that time I’ve tried to come up with some good answers to the question Chris Pirillo posed at the end of his “Windows Vista’s Rants” video (it starts around 16:30 into the clip). Here are my thoughts on Vista (rather than ) and, if I’m lucky, a few good ideas that Microsoft would do well to take to heart. The Complaints Don’t take this post the wrong way; I haven’t forgiven Vista in the least…

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GIMP Script to Make SW Robotics Thumbs

After making a whole bunch of thumbnail images for the member and mentor profiles on the Southwest Robotics site this past season, I finally decided last night to automate the process with a GIMP script, in preparation for next year’s new people. So, what does it do? It takes the image it is run on, scales it (gimp-image-scale) to 120px x 90px, and utilizes script-fu-drop-shadow to add a correctly-positioned drop-shadow. (Correctly is, in this case, the same as all the other images I did manually.) It’s a rather simple script; here’s the code: ; Script-Fu script to automatically; resize and…

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Q4 2007 Site Stats Review

As , I’m reviewing the browser and operating system statistics for this site again. All data is from the period 2007-10-04/2007-12-31. So, on to business. First up is the overall browser chart. Firefox leads with 57%, followed by Internet Explorer at 29% and Safari at 10%. I also got some negligible visits (less than 2%) from Mozilla, Opera, Camino, Netscape, and Konqueror, plus a very few hits from what appear to have been mobile browsers, such as HTC_TyTN_II Mozilla and Palm680. Drilling into per-browser version information, Firefox had a pretty good spread of versions, even getting about 80 hits from…

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Silverlight vs. Flash Battle to Heat Up Next Year

It’s been a while since I last blogged about . So long, I had to search for the post in my blog dashboard (it’s no longer on the first page of results for the tag “Microsoft”). But the news media is covering it again, this time as part of New Year’s stuff (predictions for 2008, duh). PC World’s article from a couple hours ago suggests, using mostly quotes and its tagline, that the battle between Adobe and Microsoft will get hotter next year, as Silverlight battles Flash, Flex, and AIR for supremacy in the rich Internet application (RIA) arena. Microsoft’s…

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XKCD Roundup: My Favorite XKCD Comics

I’ve selected a few exceptionally good xkcd comic strips and embedded them here. I find them all particularly amusing, over and above the normal strips. The tooltips have been preserved as well. I advise you to read them; the comics sometimes don’t make sense without. If the pics are too small for you, just click them (Ctrl+click or Shift+click would be better, actually; new tab, new window) to get the full-size version. And you can fix the annoying title truncation in Firefox using this nice extension. Centrifugal Force This is one of those things that just hits my funny bone…

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From the Linux Idea Bin: i80and’s mod-boot

You may recall me quoting my friend i80and recently in my post about the . Well, he just posted a new entry to his blog last night, and the idea looks quite interesting. Basically, what he wants to do is speed up boot times on FOSS (Free and Open-Source Software, like Linux) systems. So his idea was to have init (the default boot script) call a C program of his own writing that would basically optimize the boot process and help bring the system up faster. He explains it better than I can, so I’ll just point you to the…

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Google Infringing on Sun Patents with Android’s Dalvik?

OK, so Google doesn’t call it a Java VM; to them, it’s “Dalvik”, not Java. It does accept Java bytecode, though, and turns it into Dalvik bytecode. Sun hasn’t filed any lawsuits yet, and as far as I know doesn’t consider Google’s custom virtual machine to be a problem or infringement on their intellectual property. But the developer community and Sun are going over the nonstandard VM that Google made. When Android came out, I was determined to ignore it, as mobile phone technology doesn’t really affect me these days (not until I actually get a cell phone). Since then,…

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Incompatibilities Still Affecting Windows Vista

Windows Vista was released nine months ago (at the end of the month), but is still plagued by incompatibilities in both hardware and software. Printers, bookkeeping programs, photo editors… You name the category, there’s at least one product that claims to support Vista but doesn’t. And that doesn’t include the devices and programs that don’t support Vista at all. Part of the problem is companies’ reluctance to support a product for a nanosecond longer than they have to. Another piece involves the decreasing time-to-live of the average product revision, or model. New models and upgraded versions of existing products are…

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Firefox 3 Visual Refresh

Apparently the Mozilla developers working on the next major Firefox release, version 3, are planning big integration changes. Operating system-wise, that is. Firefox will have Windows XP, Vista, and Mac OS X themes, each carefully matched to the existing native applications and interface style. Alex Faaborg, part of Mozilla’s user experience design team, has more details on his blog. I won’t get into too many details. However, I do hope the new ‘Fox will support switching between OS themes if the user wants. I might like to try out a Mac or Linux theme on my XP computer.

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Microsoft Claims Its Intellectual Property is Used In Linux

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says users of Red Hat Linux should pay Microsoft for patented intellectual property supposedly contained in the open-source OS. The company has made no specific claims as to what portions of the Linux distro violate what patents. I feel the same way as Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation: Microsoft will only create more ill will in the Linux community, and in their own users’, until they specifically state what patents are being infringed, and provide proof. The fact that Ballmer simply says Microsoft patents are infringed will likely only further irritate customers who…

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